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narf

Simple Potato Salad

Posted by wcwh2opolo on 2008.12.16 at 16:05
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It's getting kind of cold, and for some reason that always inspires me to make stuff that is reminiscent of summer.  I made up a batch of this the other night, and that reminded me to post it here:

Basic Potato Salad

Ingredients:

- 2.5lbs of medium Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 large stalk celery
- 3 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1 c mayonnaise (I use Hellman's)
- salt and pepper

Directions:
    Peel and quarter all potatoes.  Place potatoes in a medium saucepan with water, and boil them until they are fork tender, but not falling apart.  Drain potatoes, and refrigerate.  Finely chop celery and half of the onion (set aside the other half to use for something else).  When potatoes are chilled slice each quarter into pieces that are about 1/3" thick.  Place potato slices into a medium mixing bowl, add chopped celery and onion.  Stir in vinegar.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate for about 10 minutes.  Stir in mayo and serve.

Servings: 4-6 (can be easily reduced or scaled up without losing taste)

So my whole life I have been a really picky cold salad eater, and would only eat my mom's potato salad.  This is the recipe for it.  Sometimes she adds two chopped hard boiled eggs, but I have always preferred it without.  My grandmother uses the same recipe, but will add about 2 Tbsp of mustard with the mayo.  Once again I prefer it without.  One variation that I have tried and really liked (but seldom use because I never have the ingredient on hand) is to half the mayo and mix it with half a cup of sour cream.  The grocery store in CA used to have similar potato salad that they referred to as "San Francisco Style".  Happy Potato Salad-ing!!


narf

Lime Fajitas

Posted by wcwh2opolo on 2008.09.18 at 14:46
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This recipe I came up with on the fly with what was in the cabinet one night.  It's actually really tasty.... enjoy!

Shrimp Lime Tequila Fajitas


Ingredients:
- 1 lb of small/medium cooked shrimp - tail off
- 2 red bell peppers sliced
- 1 large yellow onion sliced
- olive oil
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 fresh lime or 2 Tbsp lime juice (lemon will work in a pinch)
- 1/4c Jose Cuervo Lime Tequila (regular white tequila will also work, although make sure the flavor's good)
- kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic

Directions:
    Place shrimp in a small bow.  Pour tequila over shrimp, then juice lime over the shrimp mixture.  If you have a zester than grate off a little lime peel onto the shrimp.  Set aside.  Heat a large skillet to medium high heat.  Add enough olive oil to thickly coat the bottom of the pan.  After the oil has heated up add two pinches of kosher salt, enough ground pepper to lightly cover all oil, chili flakes, and garlic.  Stir until the garlic is a dark golden brown, then add the sliced peppers and onions.  Cook, stirring frequently until the onions have started to caramelize.  Add the shrimp and tequila/juice mix to the pan.   Continue to cook, stirring frequently, to cook off excess liquid, approximately 10 minutes.  At this time the shrimp should have picked up a golden color.  Remove from heat and serve with tortillas and favorite fajita toppings.

Servings: About 10 medium fajitas.


I've been making this dinner since shortly after Dan and I started dating - so about a year.  It's actually really quick, very tasty, and surprisingly spicy.  I get my shrimp frozen and pre-cooked from Costco, but I'm sure you could get shrimp just about anywhere.  If shrimp is out of your budget then I recommend trying this recipe with chicken.  Two nice sized chicken breasts should do it, although I'd double the tequila and let them soak in it longer.  I tried the recipe with steak once, but I personally didn't like it - the rest of my family loved it however.  If you don't want a particularly spicy meal then cut down the chili flakes by about half.  Oh, and if you don't want red bell peppers then yellow and green work too.... I just happen to prefer red -  I think they're sweeter.  Oh, and the quality of tequila used in this dish really does make a difference..... if you wouldn't sip it, then I wouldn't use it.  I'm actually contemplating trying to recipe with Corona in place of the tequila tonight..... we'll have to see how it come out.  


narf

Doctored Jambalaya

Posted by wcwh2opolo on 2008.09.16 at 14:15
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This comes from many nights of trying to fix up standard boxed jambalaya mix into a one pot meal that would be tasty and would provide a night or two's worth of left overs.

Doctored Jambalaya

Ingredients:
- 1 box Zatarain's Jambalaya Mix (standard size, or can use Red Beans and Rice Mix)
- 2c uncooked short grained rice
- 5c water
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (or butter)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 medium bag frozen corn
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 package Johnsonville Smoked Sausage or Hot Link (for spicier flavor) sliced into thin pieces
- 1 Tbsp mince garlic
- 2 pinches kosher salt
- 2 tsp red chili flakes (optional for extra kick)

Instructions:
    In a large saucepan bring water, vegetable oil, and salt to a boil.  Stir in all other ingredients (starting with rice) making sure they are well mixed, and bring up the temperature until it is almost boiling.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and cover.  Cook for 25 minutes stirring every 5 minutes.  Let sit for 5 minutes and serve. 

Servings: 6-8


I guess this isn't what most people would consider a jambalaya in the traditional sense, but it has a very good flavor, and it very quick and easy to throw together.  It's very filling, and good for cool nights.  The spice level can be controlled pretty easily, using a hot link will increase the spiciness, and adding red chili flakes or Tabasco will take it up even higher.  If you use smoked sausage and leave out the chili flakes this is a rather mild dish which only has a slight undertone of spice.  In my opinion one of the best parts about this meal is it makes enough for two or three dinners, and is good reheated or even cold if you're feeling lazy.  To reheat it I generally microwave it, but I've also put some oil in the wok and stir fried it before - it changes the texture a little, and I like to add a little garlic to the oil to intensify the flavor some.

(Cross-posted from Careven Cooks.)

ARTICHOKE HEART AND QUINOA SALAD

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked quinoa*
2 1/2 cups water
2 heads Belgian endive leaves, separated and rinsed (I couldn't find endive, so I just served on a bed of Romaine.)
2 cups artichoke hearts, chopped roughly
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
2 shallots, thinly sliced
dressing of choice (I used olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper.)

Method:
Combine quinoa with water in large saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking grains, stirring occasionally, until tender, for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Meanwhile, layer dinner plates with endive leaves. In separate mixing bowl, combine artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes and sliced shallots. When quinoa is cool, stir grain and vegetables together, and dress as desired, tossing to combine. Arrange mixture on endive leaves and serve.


SPICY CARROT AND POTATO SOUP

Ingredients:
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
150g/5oz potato, chopped
400ml/14fl oz vegetable stock
½ tsp chilli flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 vine tomato, de-seeded and chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:
1. Place the carrot, potato, stock and chilli flakes in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 7-8 minutes, then drain the vegetables, reserving the stock.
2. Heat the olive oil in the saucepan and fry the vegetables, along with the chopped garlic, for 3-4 minutes, or until tender.
3. Pour the stock back into the pan with the vegetables, stir in the tomatoes and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using a hand blender, process the soup until smooth.

NOTES:
If you've never tried quinoa, you really ought to. Like cous cous, which has a similar but distinctly different texture and flavor, you can prepare it almost any way you like--Carrie frequently makes it with broccoli and cheese, and I've played around with vegetables and Bragg's soy sauce. Plus, unlike cous cous, it's gluten-free.

*I STRONGLY recommend Ancient Harvest brand quinoa, as it's already rinsed. Unless you enjoy spending a full ten minutes sifting through tiny grains.

VERDICT:
We both loved the quinoa salad, and actually prepared it again a week later when we had guests over. It makes a fantastic appetizer, side-dish, or light meal.

I enjoyed the soup, although it was very literally 'carrot' and 'potato' and I'd forgotten that Carrie really doesn't like the flavor of cooked carrots. Oops. If you enjoy both of those flavors, though, it would be a really great cool-weather soup.

Animals: Scrub Jay Abstract

Potatoes with Feta + Garlic Quorn

Posted by paintedkirin on 2008.09.10 at 18:12
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(Catching up on some long-overdue food blogging. Cross-posted from Careven Cooks.)

POTATOES WITH FETA
Ingredients:
5 medium baking potatoes
10 pimento-stuffed olives, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup half and half
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt

Preperation:
Cook potatoes in boiling salted water for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain well and cool. Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Combine potatoes and next 6 ingredients; gently toss. Spoon into lightly greased 10x6x2 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.


GARLIC QUORN
Ingredients:
1 box (4 peices) Quorn cutlets
4-6 Tablespoons butter
1 large clove garlic (minced or crushed)
handful chopped herbs (I usually use rosemary, but basil would also be great in this)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Lemon rounds for garnish

Method:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat medium baking dish with spray oil. In medium bowl, mash butter with a spoon until smooth. Add garlic, herbs, and seasonings. Make several slashes on the top of each piece of Quorn and fill cuts with butter mixture. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with lemon garnish.

NOTES:
Feta Potatoes are a staple at my parents' house, and are a wonderful accompaniment to most meals. If you eat meat, we often used to serve it with steak or other beef dishes, which it compliments nicely.

VERDICT:
As always, I quite enjoyed this comfort food and will certainly make it again. Perhaps Carrie is better equipped to answer this one.


smokey don't play

"Beef" and Celery

Posted by carrismo226 on 2008.09.06 at 15:16
Tags: , ,
x-posted from carevencooks.blogspot.com


I found this idea in the Austin American when they were talking about Chinese culture. I couldn't find the recipe there, in the two minutes I looked for it, but this one came out nicely.

Recipe: beef and celery

Beef and Celery--

Ingredients:
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups thinly sliced celery
  • 8 oz MorningStar Farms Meal starters, beef strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Method:
  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Slowly cook and stir onions and celery until golden brown; remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Place beef slices in the skillet and heat until well browned. Stir in salt, pepper, soy sauce and water.
  3. Add the celery and onion mix. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the water and cornstarch. Pour the mixture into skillet. Stirring constantly, heat until thickened. Takes about 5 minutes.
Verdict:
This is how I should have done it. I didn't do the beef tips serperately, and they were too mushy. I think that doing it the way I was supposed to do it would give a nice crisp to the strips and give it a better texture.

I would make this again. It was easy, good, and a nice change to beef and broccoli.

Makes about 4 servings. Oh, and you should make a cup of rice too :) I forgot to add that!


narf

Scotch Eggs

Posted by wcwh2opolo on 2008.09.02 at 10:10
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In honor of the fact that the Maryland Renaissance Festival is running right now I present to you my (slightly healthier) version of a renaissance faire favorite........

Scotch Eggs

Ingredients:

- six large eggs, hardboiled and peeled
- 1 lb loose sausage (can substitute soysage if desired)
- 1 egg beaten
- 2 c fine bread crumbs
- 2/3 c flour
- 2 Tbsp chopped parsley (dried or fresh)
- 1/2 tsp ground sage
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350F.  In a medium mixing bowl combine sausage, flour, parsley, sage, pepper, and salt.  Divide the sausage mixture into six equal sized portions.  Take a portion of sausage and hand form it around a hard boiled egg until the egg is covered.  Dip the sausage covered egg into the beaten egg, then roll in bread crumbs until coated completely.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Repeat until all eggs have been coated.  Bake for 40 minutes.

Servings: 3, 2 eggs each.


The scotch egg is a must have of Renaissance Faire foods.  It's really popular, and is generally served sliced in half with honey mustard.  I say that this version is slightly healthier than what you find at faire because it is baked instead of deep fried as is the tradition.  Since it's not fried the outside will be a lighter color and not as crunchy, although it will taste just as good as the faire version.  The original recipe I got this from suggested frying the eggs in vegetable oil heated to 350F, allowing 4-5 minutes for each egg to fry.  I tried this variation, but had rather diasterous results (filled the kitchen with very thick smoke and reduced the outside of the egg to charcoal), so I suggest this variation I came up with.  One deviation I have made to the recipe and found very succesfull is using Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage instead of regular sausage, when I did this I cut out the sage the recipe calls for, and I thought it tasted much better than the added sage.  Oh, and while I've never tried the soysage version I have been told that it works just as well, although the end texture is obviously slightly different.





smokey don't play

Homemade Pasta with Pesto

Posted by carrismo226 on 2008.08.15 at 12:20
Tags: , ,
Recipe: pasta

Homemade Pasta-


Ingredients:

4 c. flour
4 tbsp. olive oil
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt

Method:

Make mound with the flour on your work surface and scoop out a well in the middle. Pour the eggs into the hole, add the salt, and work the eggs and the flour together till you have a smooth dough, adding just a drop of water if necessary, and no more. Knead the dough for ten to fifteen minutes, until it is smooth, firm, and quite elastic. Don't skimp on the kneading or the dough will tear while you're rolling it out.

You are now ready for the hard part: separate the dough into two pieces. Flour your work surface (the marble counter tops in Italian kitchens are ideal for this, though wood or Formica work as well -- a pastry cloth gets in the way) and start to roll out the dough, rolling from the middle, flipping it occasionally, and flouring it as necessary to keep it from sticking. To keep the sheet from breaking, once it has reached a certain size, roll it up around the rolling pin and then invert the rolling pin; you can, as you are unrolling the sheet, gently stretch it by holding the unrolled part firm and pulling gently away with the rolling pin. Keep on flipping and rolling till you have a sheet that's almost transparent -- as thin as a dime, or thinner, if you can manage it (the pasta will almost double in thickness while cooking). The Emilians, acknowledged masters of home-made pasta, say your backside should work up a sweat as you're rolling out the sheet.


Pesto--

Ingredients:

1 c Basil, chopped well
2 c spinach, chopped roughly
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
5-10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4-6 cherry tomatoes, chopped to quarters
salt and pepper to taste

Method:

So, I wasn't really sure how much of everything I put in, I just made a guess. If you have it, put more basil than spinach. I use the spinach to create more volume when I don't have enough basil.

1.In a pan, heat oil. Add garlic on low heat and simmer until the garlic starts to become translucent. Add basil, and sautee for about 3 minutes. Add spinach and cook until soft and limp.

2. Pour into a bowl and use hand mixer to blend. I like mine still with chunks, so I don't blend very well. Also, you can skip this step, but it allows for a finer sauce to more evenly coat the pasta.

3. Put sauce back in the pan. Add the butter and the tomatoes, cook until soft.

Verdict:
I didn't spend enough time kneading or rolling out the pasta, so it was a little crumbly and too thick. I also remembered why I really need a pasta machine. It's hard work. And I hate kneading things, and pasta has to be kneaded for at least 15 minutes, more like 20. It's backbreaking and our cabinets are too high so I can't get all my weight on it. Other wise, there is nothing better in the world than fresh pasta! And the sauce was nice and light and perfect for a hot day! I sprinkled it with fresh parmesan cheese and we had a nice Chardonnay that didn't quite match, but was still good.


x-posted from: http://carevencooks.blogspot.com/

I made these last night and they turned out pretty good. They taste almost exactly like regular brownies and it's extremely simple. Basically, flour is replaced with black beans making this gluten-free. They're not as airy as regular brownies and seemed richer to me. If anyone else tries them out, let me know what you think. You can definitely taste the black beans, but its not a bad thing, it tastes pretty good.

Ingredients:
1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
3 eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease an 8x8 square baking dish.
3. Combine black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, sugar in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into baking dish.
4. Add chocolate chips to mixture
5. Bake until top is dry, about 30 minutes.

Ingredients:
Penne Pasta
Fresh Broccoli
smoked sausage (the kind that comes 2 giant links to a pack)
alfredo sauce

-Cook the pasta to al dente perfection
-Chop and steam or boil the broccoli to where you can stab it with a fork easily but not squishy
-slice the sausage into chunks about 1 cm wide, i usually cut diagonal, but that's for aesthetics, and fry it up til it's warm (most of those types of sausages are heat and serve)
-dump all together in a wok, pour alfredo sauce over it and toss

it's a variation on chicken alfredo. I try different sausages like chorizo to spice it up, and inevitably use jarred sauce but add my own spices. You can make as little or as much as you want. i've never had any complaints!
also it goes good with garlic bread.


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